back to article Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

A hard drive containing the unfinished books of Terry Pratchett has been destroyed by a steamroller, in fulfilment of the late author's last wishes. The works were crushed by a vintage John Fowler & Co steamroller at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, ahead of the opening of a new exhibition about the author’s life and work. It is …

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    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The Salmon of Doubt

      "We're going to face this more often, and should be thinking about our own digital detritus as well of that belonging to the rich and famous."

      I wonder how much of the worlds spam is not just addressed to dead email addresses but to dead people?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: The Salmon of Doubt

        Tangentially related XKCD.

  1. short a sandwich

    Not the Storage

    There's no cheese in that picture, can't be from Hex

  2. The New Turtle

    When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

    I've been grinding my way through 'Raising Steam' recently, wondering what happened to the magic in the early works - and nothing to do with thaumaturgy. TBH I'm grateful 'Terry' wont' be writing any more books from the grave.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

      What a curious attitude. Would you rather he hadn't published Raising Steam, then?

      In case you missed it, he was ill, and becoming progressively worse, at the time that he wrote that, and yes, it does appear more laboured than some of his earlier works, but I would still rather be able to read it, than not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

      That one , and 'Dodger' took me some time , I assumed it was because im always pissed when i get to bed these days , rather than any drop in quality.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

        I suspect the extra time to read is because they are so different. It was easy to settle into the previous discworld books because they had a simple rhythm to them but Raising Steam went out on it's own rails scattering previous assumptions like confetti while Dodger was differently different as it was not Discworld. Even Carpet People and the Bromiliad at least had Gnomish characters and so were in a similar vein.

      2. illuminatus

        Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

        I found Raising Steam a slog. Dodger I liked rather more, and found it had much more spark.

    3. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

      Raising Steam is one of my favourites; I think it's easily one of his best. Just because the social parody is more pronounced and the one-liners less prevalent doesn't make it more laboured or any less of a book.

      In later years Sir PTerry became more and more angry about social injustice and inequality, capitalism and the rape of former nationalised industries for profit. This was evident to anyone who met him at a signing or convention. This anger translated into his work; he used the Discworld to hold up a mirror to our own so we could see the absurdity of the theories that underpin the modern banking system (Making Money), the idiocy of privatised public services (the clacks in Going Postal), and the stupidity of religious and racial intolerance (Thud & Snuff).

      Raising Steam was both a chance to bring the railway revolution to the Discworld (something he'd been wanting to do for years) and to take a satirical look at fundamentalism. As far as I'm concerned he did both with considerable panache.

      1. The New Turtle

        Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

        To me, if that's the case then he sold his discworld legacy cheaply to make a political point, although his books had been increasingly formulaic (disaster looms, hero/ine has some special ability, they or nearby character falls in love, tension peaks, everything is OK in the end). Not that I didn't enjoy them, but as western tech was increasingly used to prop up stories so they became decreasingly interesting.

        I read quite a bit of his output, including the truckers series, dark side of the sun and the carpet people. Each had their own flavour and each bore his style. Perhaps discworld became his vehicle for protest because he thought he'd affect more people that way, and was too far gone to create a new world instead.

      2. SteveastroUk

        Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

        Except GP was about the THEFT of a private company from its owners - like Nationalisation.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

          Not quite. The closest comparison would be an argument against aggressive venture capitalism and asset stripping that happens to a lot of tech start ups.

        2. Alister Silver badge

          Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

          @SteveastroUk

          Except GP was about the THEFT of a private company from its owners - like Nationalisation.

          @Aladdin Sane

          Not quite. The closest comparison would be an argument against aggressive venture capitalism and asset stripping that happens to a lot of tech start ups.

          It's curious how one can project one's own preconceptions onto Terry's writings.

          As a Brit, I thought that GP was very much a parody of what happens when previously nationalised industries / services become prey to the pursuit of profits by private ownership, as happened / is happening to the Post Office, BT, the Railways, the NHS etc, etc in Britain.

          It is not an exact analogy, of course, as the clacks was originally owned and run by the Deerhearts, but it was definitely run in the style of the old Nationalised GPO / Post Office Telephones.

          As someone who worked for British Telecom just after privatisation, and then later in the NHS, there are a lot of things in GP that resonate with my experiences.

          The removal of resources, the cessation of regular maintenance, and the reduction in quality of service but for higher prices, all remind me very much of what happened when the GPO became BT.

  3. Redstone
    Pint

    For those curious what was on the drive....

    ...just wait for the next NSA leak. ;)

    My intro to Terry Pratchett was 'Mort'. Great author. Great Bloke. Greatly missed.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    No IT angle

    It's been crushed flat.

    I still have a few books to go before I have read them all but now Sir Terry has gone I will savour them rather like laying down a good bottle of wine.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laws of physics

    More guidelines, really.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Laws of physics

      They had to make up for the lack of narrativium somehow.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Laws of physics

      Rather like the laws of Australia trumping the laws of maths. Terry was rather good at pointing out how stupid people can be. Sadly, people keep on proving him right.

  6. Curt Vile

    Clearly a purely symbolic gesture since the drive in question is an ancient IDE one. And what about his laptop drive? Or the backups?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      If I wanted a symbolically ancient drive, I'd have chosen one with an ST-506 interface.

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Rincewind and the Luggage is lost forevermore. :(

    At least Rincewind have an ample supply of clean clothes.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The man is a legend. Mort was one of the most enjoyable and one of the very few laugh out loud books I've ever read.

    May his hard drive rest in pieces though his legacy will live on forever. I can't wait till my kids are old enough to appreciate his works.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Start 'em young with Where's My Cow?

  9. B*stardTintedGlasses

    This kind of thing is why the man was one of the greats. A sense of humour that manages to shine through even the finality at the end of the ride.

    A salute to you Sir P'Terry, for every smile in my childhood, every moment of escapism in my teens, and every "suddenly clear" joke hidden in layers of meaning that I understood on re-reading as an Adult.

    Excuse me... suddenly very dusty in here.

    ***

    AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER...

    Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

    ***

  10. illuminatus

    Quite right too.

    They were his words, so he should decide what should be done with them. They were probably unpublished for good reasons: his reasons. And they're the only ones that count in the end.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Happy

    My favourite Pterry quote is

    from Guards Guards, where the said guards arrest a man whos just seen a dragon burn all his not so evil associates to death

    "Cant we do something for the poor man" Said Lady Ramkin, as he stood there shivering with fear

    "I can kick him in the bollocks" replied Nobby

    One from the 'SPG' style of policing ....

    Best book

    "Small gods"

    Burn me over an iron turtle if that is'nt true

  12. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    ?

    No reference to VLC builds having Discworld-related names?

  13. A K Stiles
    Joke

    I wonder what the chances are...

    ...that any data could be salvaged from that disk?

    Maybe a million to one?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: I wonder what the chances are...

      ...that any data could be salvaged from that disk?

      Maybe a million to one?

      I think they thoroughly got it's voolnerables

  14. Chozo
    Coat

    Eat your heart out Copernicus the flat earther's were right.

    Call me a heretic but I always liked TP's early work 'Strata'

    1. A K Stiles
      Thumb Up

      Re: Eat your heart out Copernicus the flat earther's were right.

      and Dark Side of the Sun.

  15. HildyJ
    Pint

    OOK!

    The Great A'Tuin finally reached its destination and Discworld ceased to exist. As it was destined. As it should. Without the Library of books yet to be written or the Librarian to find them, we can now only see into its past. And it remains wonderful.

    In this day and age I recommend that, if you read no other work, read Jingo - not his best but supremely relevant. But don't just do that. Read them all, even the non-Discworld works.

  16. erikborgo

    Meeting Pratchett

    I met him accidentally twice on the same day 25 years ago. He gave me some awesome advice about writing novels... He said his only rule was to write 500 polished words every day. He may write a couple of thousand but with 500 polished words, in six months he has another novel. He gave me a couple of other pointers too which I will keep to myself, in our wonderful little one to one after his lecture while I was waiting for the next event; a screening of The Wicker Man on 16mm. Sometimes meeting your heros is as epic as you imagine. Such a brilliant writer, he is very much missed. Hope nobody had cloned the hard drive.

  17. Sierpinski
    Meh

    My first two reactions

    1) I'm horrified at the loss of his partial works.

    2) I hope someone is willed the remains his computer to someone with the provision that they must find a way to forge it into a sword.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. hard drive

    I give it about a year and someone will mysteriously "find" a forensic image of the drive on the dark web, likely recovered from one of the NSAGCHQFBICIADHS intercepts using a router exploit that then deleted itself.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Re. hard drive

      I hope you are incorrect. But i sadly fear you may be correct

  19. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I don't cry often, but... *&^*&^*&()))!!!

  20. Andy 97

    Now that's classy!

    Top marks for style, and... a steam roller too.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HARD DRIVE, COME WITH ME

  22. MJI Silver badge

    What a way to do it.

    I liked the idea, the fun, the way of doing it.

    Read most of his books, (75% to 80%), still need to read a few to complete the set, (missed a few in the middle).

    But I did notice a style change on the last few though, Raising Steam felt like it was cowritten.

    The Shepherds Crown was a great finish to his series, very poignant.

    Not sure where I saw the film though, the one with David Jason, as I never had Sky. But he seemed too old to be RIncewind.

    But better no more books than half written and badly finished books.

    The only thing I would have wanted would be if the characters were ones we knew, would they have been OK.

  23. Sherrie Ludwig

    On the topic of unfinished novels

    Only occasionally, the executors of an estate find the right collaborator to finish an author's work in progress, and only when they are reasonably certain of a good outcome should they proceed. One of my other favorite authors, Dorothy L. Sayers, had an unfinished Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane novel that took half a century to find its collaborator in Jill Paton Walsh. The novel lacks some of the classical scholarship of Sayers, but the characters are given the chance to breathe one more time (with a nice afterword as to all their fates during and after WWII). A worthy addition to that series, Thrones, Dominations.

  24. JLV Silver badge

    While I don't disagree with the request being carried out

    I can't help thinking of Kafka.

  25. RockBurner

    I disagree with those who aren't recommending the first 2 "Colour of Magic" & "Light Fantastic". As 'world-setters' they create the whole stage for the Discworld brilliantly, and quite frankly, as a fan of Robert E Howard, Cohen is my favourite character.

  26. Geoff Johnson

    I wholeheartedly agree with this action.

    After reading the book they pieced together from from Douglas Adams' old hard drive, I'd request this too.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is only ONE

    Highlandrive..

    (sorry, wrong series)

    But seriously, how do I ensure that my unpublished GUT that essentially demolishes the Standard Model and unifies GR, QM AND DM remains unknown, in the event of unfortunate circumstances?

    Can I just will that all my drives be destroyed in some creative way?

    Wouldn't want to put 96% of the physics community out of work!

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